Like a rolling stone…. or rather, hit the road Jack…

This blog got away from me. I started it a long time ago and meant it to be about traveling and then it morphed into cliched blogosophy. Bummer. It had some potential, so maybe I will edit it. Of course I am starting to really think potential is a lame focus, so maybe I won’t. Either way, I meant it to be a metaphor about rolling on down the road around the world, like some combination of Ike & Tina’s “Proud Mary”, Clarence Gatemouth Brown’s “I ain’t gotta home”, Kerouac’s The Road, topped off by the lessons learned in Dylan’s “Like a rolling stone.”

Definitely too ambitious from the get go.

Should’ve just stuck with my guiding principle: “Hit the road Jack.”

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

I don’t know when I first heard this song, likely in the womb really, having been born in San Francisco in the fall of 1970; but I have known the lyrics by heart all my life. I even thought I mostly understood them. Now I think I get them.

I have been bouncing along for the past couple of years…. Not necessarily aimless, but still lost to a degree. It seems that it might be much more difficult to get out there in the world and be that prophetic change you want to see when you are so firmly entrenched in, and attached to, your (certainly limited) sense of self.

Every plan I have made has changed. Everything I have insisted was the most important has been reprioritized.

Except one thing. I guess we call this a guiding principle.

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Bewrare doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud

Intrinsically I feel, always have felt, that there is something more out there… not something better, certainly not something worse… just there. A lure. A concept. A possibility. Something else from where I am. And obviously, as I am one and the world is many, this is clearly true. It is the search and self-inflicted need for these things that have shaped my personality.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

There is a sacrifice inherent in this state of mind (which for the record I do not consider a choice.) It leaves me feeling somewhat homeless… less grounded, connected, needed, than the other people I see. Everyone else seems to have it all sooooooo together.

This seems somehow counterproductive, or if not that at least it seems a very “half-empty” point of view. I shouldn’t feel this way… on paper I am living the dream. I went to the best schools, I did all the right things, I was a good daughter (mostly), I took suitable risks, I took some not so suitable risks. Why then, do I find myself wearing Miss Lonely’s coat? Is everyone else really that much more in tune with the reality of life than I am? Why does everyone else seem so in the loop?

You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find you’re gonna have to get used to it
You said you’d never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And you ask him do you want to make a deal?

True, I am at a crossroads. I am nearing 40, if that matters anymore, but I am not in the mood to make a deal. I want something and this seems ludicrous in light of all that I have. Beyond that, it seems positively reprehensible. But there you have it, I am a girl in want.

I would like to calm the noise in my brain. I would like to experience true peace. I would like to feel like everyday, I have done the best I can and I have acted with integrity. This seems like it should be easy, but somehow, no matter where I go or what I do it remains a challenge. I would like some direction.

I watch people all the time and I make up stories about them. Not mean, nasty stories. In fact, probably much better stories than they might tell from their own point of view. I look at them and I see(k)…

  • Look at that bag, she must have the perfect job, I bet she is headed to Marc Jacobs to pick up a little something right now
  • Look at those shoes, she must really be happy, I bet her closet if full of Manolos and Jimmy Choos
  • Look at them standing there just being together, not needing to speak, they must be so in love, I bet they get up in the morning in a bright, sunlit apartment and share gourmet coffe while the read the paper and share smiles
  • Look at those guys laughing, I bet they are heading to the pub for some laughs and then out with their self-sufficient, hot girlfriends 
  • Look at those girls, I bet they just through that outfit together and are heading out to that new restaurant/club/show feeling fabulous and beautiful, I bet strangers take their photos

I look at them and I wonder, am I doing something terribly wrong and I don’t even know it? I wonder if everything is what it seems, or if it is even close to what it seems.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

I have been traveling quite a bit these days, which certainly contributes to the feeling of being a ‘rolling stone.’ It also, unavoidably allows you to see the world in different ways, if not through different eyes. Since the summer I have been in Hong Kong, San Diego, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Encinitas, San Francisco, Petaluma, Bolinas, Bodega Bay, Bali, Borneo, Cambodia, and soon will head to Shanghai, Beijing, and Xian. I should feel like that old Johnny Cash song, “I’ve been everywhere man…” but instead I feel… in the middle. In the middle of everything… like a complete unknown.

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal.

Everywhere I go I see people… tons and tons of people. And they all seem to understand their place in the larger scheme of things, so I am wondering if I am just not understanding my place, or if I am placeless. People are working, living, surviving, parenting, teaching, learning, hustling, lying, crying, dying. I am watching.

Or maybe I am doing all of those things too.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

There are some consistencies that I see out there. For example, everyone I see is making plans. Planning for what they will do next, when, if, tomorrow. Everyone is comparing and relating. Seeing how they match up, how they come across, how they are doing. I do this too. This, I believe is a mistake; I think it must negate the present and distort the world view. I think this is how people try to feel at home. Or maybe it is just me.

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

I feel freer in my life than I have probably ever felt at this very moment in time. But I still honestly wonder if I am somehow missing something, like the meaning of life. Sometimes I really wonder what it is I am looking for, or if it is anything at all. Maybe the looking takes away the responsibility for being. This, I believe, is not the way forward,.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

I am on my own in some ways. And in some ways I have no direction home. And in some ways I am most definitely a complete unknown. Maybe this is the price of freedom. Maybe this the cost of existence.

The one thing I do know, the more I see of the world, the more I realize we are all the same. We are so small but still powerful. And everybody is a rolling stone, some people are just on a bumpier road… some people don’t even know there is a road.

Hit it, Jack.


About Amanda

I am repatriating expatriate trying to work it all out. Well, to work some of it out anyhow. I am writing here for sanity, focus and general over-sharing.
This entry was posted in Life, Music, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Like a rolling stone…. or rather, hit the road Jack…

  1. Amy says:

    I think it’s harder sometimes since we were taught to not except the status quo.

    I think that the more I see and experience the more I realize that nothing is perfect, that there is compromise in everything, there are no absolutes.

    I think that people who look at you think you really have it all together: great job, family, happiness, the ability to travel and buy those Manolos, talent, vision, inspiration and intelligence. 🙂

  2. Amanda says:

    Oh, I remembered another thing that was perplexing this long and winding blog… It is one of my underlying questions… when I look at all these people, out about, at clubs, doing all the cool things… are they REALLY enjoying themselves? I mean I know they LOOK like they are enjoying themselves, but can they really be? I just wonder because I find all of those activities so tedious and laborious… So, see, is it just me???? Why aren’t I loving what they appear to be loving? Are they all pretneding too? Or wait, can it be that we are really all that different??? *wink wink*

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